When you have anxiety and depression, you literally want to improve everything. You want to improve the way your toenails grow. You want to improve how your eyes are shaped. You want to improve how your voice sounds recorded.
Every single part of you is scrutinized, evaluated and diagnosed with some sort of failure or deficiency.
And that’s just what YOU want to do. That’s what your brain convinces you is wrong. EVERYTHING. It starts to make sense why plastic surgery is such a huge business. You can convince yourself there are flaws where there are none.
These thoughts don’t include absorbing every saying, every commercial, every social media post you hear or read externally.
You question why so-and-so liked that Facebook post but not this blog post. You analyze and critique your social media posts and place values on them based on the number of comments and likes you get.
So to ask what things you want to improve is like selecting your favorite N*Sync member.
(That’s obviously a ridiculous notion. JT, of course.) Or asking which countries in the world you’d like to visit and then proceed to list every dream destination you’ve ever heard of.
So, let’s narrow this down. Most won’t be SMART goals – goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and timely. (I remembered all of those and given my anxiety-related memory issues, this is a massive win for the 2nd day of 2017.) These are generalizations that I’ll specify at some point. One step at a time, right? What are a few things I want to improve in the New Year.
Improve my writing. I want to publish one of my ordinary e-books (or e-book ideas) on my own and then thousands of copies like Andy Weir’s The Martian. A book so powerful, Matt Damon looks at an adapted screenplay and basically says, “Yup. This is what I want.” I want it to affect someone so deeply that it becomes a book people read and re-read when they need a pick me up, like The War of Art (a book that will only take you a few hours to read but will impact the rest of your life).
Improve my relationships. Not exactly how I communicate with people or how often I spend time with them. But how I react to these moments. Appreciate them more. Not take them for granted. Push all of the other thoughts that anxiety fills my brain – useless negative self-talk, unimportant situations, uncontrollable circumstances.
Focus. On that person. On that moment. Second by second.
Embrace my frustration and anger. After this year’s election, I unloaded my disappointment and anger on Facebook. I frightened people. They knew of my struggles with mental illness, but they didn’t know how upset and how sensitive I was at the outcome of the election.
Not even I understood that anxiety and depression make even the smallest slights or seemingly hopeless circumstances explode into uncontrollable monsters unleashed on every one and everything in my path.
That aloof, unattainable social media justification actually came to me then – random friends who send a message or post a comment that says, “Hey. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to speak your truth.” I tried to focus on those than the ones pleading me to back off before I offended someone.
Spend 5 minutes a day doing the things that really matter. When it comes to self care – breathing, stretching or other forms of exercise, prayer, reading and, of course writing.
This is going to be hard. And the biggest improvement would be to accept if I fail at this in 2017. Here’s hoping that I’ll look back on this and smile.
What will you improve this year? Resolutions are for international and often tenuous peace agreements. Improvements are just for you.
This is part of the #MyMightyMonth challenge done by the Mighty. Some I’ll post to my blog and to The Mighty. Others I may not, but it’s a daily challenge!